Disney World Free Dining Returns September – December 2012
“Free Dining” returns for Fall 2012 Disney World guests with arrival dates between September 30 and December 13, 2012, with some blockout dates (below). This promotion will become available to the general public for booking as of July 12, 2012 and is available to Disney Visa Cardholders as of July 9, 2012.
Value Resort guests receive the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan during the promotion (except guests at Art of Animation, Little Mermaid wing, where free dining will not be offered), and all other guests receive the standard Disney Dining Plan.
Here are all of the arrival dates for Free Dining. You must arrive between these sets of dates:
9/30 – 10/4
10/19 – 11/1
11/9 – 11/15
11/23 – 11/29
12/10 – 12/13
Again, so long as you arrive during any of these windows, you will receive Free Dining for the duration of your stay.
For details about which tier of the Disney Dining Plan includes or for recommendations about which restaurants to book to maximize your use of the Disney Dining Plan, please see our comprehensive Disney Dining Plan 2012 Overview Page!
As stated above, guests staying at a Walt Disney World Value Resort will receive the Quick Service Dining Plan during this promotion (except Art of Animation Little Mermaid). Other ‘rules’ are the same as other free dining promotions in the past: guests can upgrade from the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan to the (standard) Disney Dining Plan or the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan if they pay the difference. The upgrade cost for the standard Disney Dining Plan is $16.55 per adult and $3 per child per night. The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan upgrade cost is $51 per adult and $12 per child per night. Guests at Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts can upgrade to the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan for $34 per adult and $9 for children per night. A three night minimum stay required with a maximum stay of fourteen nights. The only other requirement is that you must purchase a 2 day basic Magic Your Way park ticket per person on the reservation.
If you intend to take advantage of this offer, we highly recommend that you book your Advance Dining Reservations now, before even booking your travel. You can always cancel dining reservations later, but you can’t book reservations at restaurants with no availability!
If you plan on getting the Disney Dining Plan check out these other Walt Disney World food posts to maximize your Disney Dining Plan value:
- Best-Value Table Service Restaurants on the Disney Dining Plan
- Best-Value Counter Service Restaurants on the Disney Dining Plan
- Best-Value Character Meals on the Disney Dining Plan
- Best-Value Snacks on the Disney Dining Plan
- Save 50%+ on the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan
- Top Romantic Walt Disney World Restaurants
- Top Cupcakes at Walt Disney World
- Drinking Around Epcot’s World Showcase Tips
To determine which restaurants to book, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews.
This is certainly good news for those who are fans of the “free” dining promotion! Let us know what you think in the comments.
Tom! Thanks for this info. I booked WL this morning and took advantage of this offer. I’ll start looking at your dining reviews now and start booking reservations tonight. Your site is a great resource.
BTW, check the link at the bottom of this post.
it goes to:
it should go to:
Tom – I’m going with my brother in law, he is a vacation club member, ie we will be staying in his room. Can I get the free dining?
People in DVC don’t qualify for the special offers and if he is using DVC points for the room, you won’t either…
This is the 1st time I’m using the dinning plan, my trip is already booked for 10/20 I’m staying at All Star Music and we have selected the Magic you way package plus dining,how do I know get the free dinning plan if I have already made my reservations?
Just call Disney Travel and tell them you saw the free dining offer. They will give to you if it is available for your room type/reservation.
Dang! Booked for arrival on 11/6 staying at A of A. should I try to modify reservation and just pay for DDP for 11/6-11/9, then transfer to moderate resort for 11/9-11/13 to take advantage of free dining? Thoughts? Any advice would be appreciated. Also, Tom & Sarah, any plans to ever try out a Disney Cruise? Just curious.
People at a value resort still get a modified free dining. We did it last year ( we always stay at a value resort) and we got all our QS meals and snacks free and only had to pay for the points for the TS meals, it was a good deal for us.
Oh I see what you are saying…I don’t think switching resorts would count as “arriving” though…
We have a reservation for 2 rooms in a value resort for our family of 5 using a room pin for a great deal. Got free dining promotion and it will actually cost us more money because we can only use 1 pin at a time. Should we stick with the room discount and pay for food out of pocket or should we go to the “free dining” which isn’t free!? We are driving from MA. so I could pack food. Thanks for your help.
Perfect example of why “free” dining isn’t really free. In this case, however, I think you could use the PIN code for one room and the free dining promotion for the other room. I’d give it a try…
ooohhh….I’ll try that!!!! Thanks-Katie
Nope…we can’t split the reservation they said. I think that we are going to plan on breakfast in the rooms, make lunches and eat out 1 time a day. Hoping to save money. What do you think? I just want to go the cheapest route I can and still enjoy:)
We are booked in @ at A of A LM Nov 17th – Nov 24th….are we not going to be eligible for the free dining offer….if not – why???? Guess I’ll have to switch booking to Pop Century if that’s the case.
Supply & demand.
My sister is in the DVC and a friend of hers moved to Pop Century from AoA LM since she couldn’t get the free dining there. I would do it if it meant free dining!
Why is the week of October 13 to the 20th not included, any reason? We would be arriving the 13th and leaving the 20th. So frustrating!
Disney offers discounts to incentivize guests to book rooms when demand is otherwise too low. Why discount a product (in this case, rooms) that you’re already selling well?
The food and wine festival is going on then so I guess attendance isn’t a problem for them at the parks that week. Last year we got free dining for our trip even tough we didn’t arrive when the dates started, so I’m frustrated too that we don’t qualify this year…we can’t change our plans this time because it is my kids fall break which means missing less school, and we got all our dining reservations exactly where and when we wanted them and that will change if we bump up our trip for free dining!
Well, never mind what I said before, the Festival goes all the way until Nov 12th…now I just don’t get it!
Is the earlier date for the Disney Visa cardholder a new thing? I’m fairly new to planning Disney vacations but I don’t remember seeing that as a Disney Visa perk.
Most of the dates seem accurate but my pin offer by email did include Arts of Animation Little Mermaid and that is what we booked for 12/13 thru 12/21 and we got the free dining offer.
I’m kind of glad to see that the majority of our early November trip falls under rumored “blackout” dates. It will be our first autumn visit in years that hasn’t corresponded with free dining. I’m interested to see if it makes a difference in restaurant attendance.
Do you think there’s a possibility that they will include December 1-7? Those are the dates we’ll be there and we can’t change it because our plane tickets are non refundable! We took advantage of free dining our last trip in August 2011, and would love to have it again! 🙂
Most likely not, those are the dates of Pop Warner football. They offer free food to fill rooms when bookings are low.
If we already ordered our park tickets, are we still eligible for the free dining plan?
If you have a Magic Your Way package that includes a stay at a resort and park tickets and DDP then yes.
Your headline is somewhat misleading. I got excited thinking something had been announced. The word “rumored” should probably be in there.
We arrive 11/01. Hopefully the rumors are true!
This is rumor about as much as it’s a “rumor” that DVC is being built at the Grand Floridian.
I figured as much. That’s great news for me then! Thanks for the heads-up.
Just to clarify, AoA gets the QS plan except for the LM wing which gets nothing. Correct?
We used our free dining offer at AoA LM wing. So I don’t know if it just thru the pin offer or what. We are staying 12/13 thru 12/21.
We were able to book at AoA but had to switch from a Nemo suite to a Lion King suite. Hopefully, the Nemo suites will open up later because my kids much prefer Nemo to LK). But if not, oh well.
So if we get there on 10/14 and leave on 10/20 can we get the DDP for free?
No, you have to ARRIVE on one of the posted days, not be there already.
That stinks, we didn’t last year! 🙁
You can split your reservation and “arrive” on the free dining day, but for your dates it wouldn’t work.
We are using our kids Fall Break for this trip, so no, moving it is not possible…
I noticed that the first week in December is not included. Is that probably due to the popwarner football/cheering event that goes on at that time? I am planning early for a trip in 2013 and we were going to end up at the park at the same time as popwarner (I did not really find that it would matter that much) but if it will cause us not to be eligible for free dining that might be cause to rethink the timing (as it will just be my husband and I we can be flexible with dates). If we make a room reservation and then try to apply discounts can we change dates without cost?